Monday, 30 September 2013

Craft Fair; Feeding Penguin and Big Eggs.

[A life in the South Atlantic, on board the Falkland Islands, some 300 miles of the east coast of South improving as we leave winter behind, and the sun returns to the Southern Hemisphere.]

Cutting through the peat
Another exciting period in Stanley, with a new road being cut through a huge peat bank on Stanley Common, at the south edge of town.  This will lead to a new housing development - mostly shared accommodation for seasonal workers, I understand.
The road through the peat
About 40 years ago, most residents would cut peat on the common to heat their houses or use as fuel for their stoves.   Nowadays, only a handful of people still use peat.   But I think it came as a bit of a surprise to see how deep the bank was.  The first Monday in October is a national holiday in the Falklands - Peat Cutting Monday!
Watching penguins near Stanley
A few miles to the west of Stanley are some lovely sand dunes, which is where we took a new friend recently.  Emily had arrived as a teacher in August, but had yet to see a penguin, so we showed her a secret Gentoo colony, guarded by a minefield!  A few days later, we were getting closeup views of a King Penguin.....
Feeding time for a King
An oiled King penguin had been found on a local beach and Falklands Conservation staff had taken it to their de-oiling facility, in Stanley
Temporary home
However, removing the oil also means the bird's feathers are not waterproof, so going back into the freezing sea is not an option until the waterproofness returns in a few weeks.  Volunteers were sought to help feed the bird while it regains its water-repellence.   How could I refuse?  Another sardine?
Nordic Walkers enjoying the sunshine
The good weather has also encouraged more Nordic Walkers out to exercise in the countryside around Stanley.   I have been busy recently working as a driving instructor (harder than it sounds in a country with no traffic lights or roundabouts), so not been able to devote as much time to Nordic Walking.  However, it is gratifying to see people enjoying it on their own or with friends.  Have poles, keep fit.
Historic Quilt
The local secondary school recently was the venue for a Craft Fair which displayed  many examples of the skills of residents.  Particularly impressive were the quilts - some of which were works of art, and had taken many man-hours (or, more correctly, woman-hours) in the making.
Second prize for Hilary
 The quilt below was created by a friend, and shows scens from Falklands' life, such as the small planes that connect the remote communities.
'Windows on Falklands', quilt
There were categories for knitting, weaving,  felting, model-making, photography, crocheting, leather-work, wood-turning and so on.  There was even a category for cured animal skins and the winner was a rat, which I assumed had been one those killed in the recent rat eradication programme on South Georgia!
Winner of the skin contest....

A local bird, a crested Caracara, in felt.
 What people can do with wool is amazing......
A live crested Caracara, in life
The Legislative Assembly has been dissolved, which means a new one, comprising 8 Members, will be elected in November.  There will be 5 Members representing the Stanley constituency, and 3 Members representing the rest of the country (also known as Camp).

Street furniture
So, the next few weeks should see a lot of debate about things that Falkland Islanders hold dear.  Building a port for the oil industry; tarmacing the main road to the airport; subsidising rural life - these are all issues which generate strong debates every so often.
Goose egg, plus hen eggs
Unfortunately, I will miss much of the debate, as I am going away for a few weeks to see a bit of Peru.
The new neighbours
I expect there will still be some public meetings being held on my return, as there are more candidates than seats, so many candidates will no doubt be promising change when (or if) they are elected.  More on this topic in a month or so.
Handy size
Meanwhile, Spring is showing evidence of arriving in the Southern Hemisphere.  Penguins and seals are gathering on the beaches to breed.  Indigenous birds such as the Upland Geese, are laying eggs, which make a change from the normal chicken eggs.
Fills the pan
More on the wildlife of the Falklands in the next posting.   Oh, and the Conservation Ball was held on Friday, and several guests cutting a fine figure and showing shapely legs.  And the women looked smart in the ball gowns, too!  

Have you worked out what is worn under the kilt, yet?

More soon,


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